Wide Reflective Equilibrium as a Normative Model for Responsible Governance

NanoEthics 7 (1):29-43 (2013)
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Soft regulatory measures are often promoted as an alternative for existing regulatory regimes for nanotechnologies. The call for new regulatory approaches stems from several challenges that traditional approaches have difficulties dealing with. These challenges relate to general problems of governability, tensions between public interests, but also (and maybe particularly) to almost complete lack of certainty about the implications of nanotechnologies. At the same time, the field of nanotechnology can be characterized by a high level of diversity. In this paper, we discuss and compare two models for framing public policy in relation to technology regulation: the first is a deliberative model based on foresight knowledge and the second the wide reflective equilibrium model, developed by political philosopher John Rawls. In both models, the aim is to find consensus on (a framework for) policy measures and regulation. On the basis of a critical discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of both models, some tentative conclusions are drawn for effective policy making and implementation based on soft law



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Neelke Doorn
Delft University of Technology

References found in this work

Political Liberalism.John Rawls - 1993 - Columbia University Press.
Justice as fairness: a restatement.John Rawls (ed.) - 2001 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Political Liberalism.J. Rawls - 1995 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 57 (3):596-598.
Inclusion and Democracy.Iris Marion Young - 2000 - Oxford University Press.

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